If you find yourself in Minneapolis and are looking for some budget friendly (free!) things to do, it is your lucky day! We compiled a list of some of our favorite free things to see and do in Minneapolis, MN. This list is in no particular order, we just added the items as we thought of them.
1. Visit the Sculpture Garden
The sculpture garden is part of the Walker Art Center, but its free! You can stroll along the paths and marvel at the art. The sculpture garden is home to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. There is some free parking available, otherwise there is a lot nearby that you can pay to use.
2. Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch Bridge is an old railroad bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River. Now it is only available for pedestrians or bikers to use. From the bridge, you can get a great view of the St. Anthony Falls or the skyline of Minneapolis.
3. Shop at the Mill City Farmers Market
If you are visiting on a Saturday and are free in the morning, stop by the Mill City Farmers Market! There is a large variety of vendors- meats and cheeses, pastries and flowers, arts and crafts and much more. There are usually food trucks or stalls that are selling fresh hot foods for breakfast or lunch too. If you haven’t visited the Stone Arch Bridge yet, now would be a great time to go because you will be right there after visiting the market!
4. Visit Minnehaha Regional Park
This area is a huge park with a lot going on. First, there is Minnehaha falls that is beautiful to see any time of the year. There are bikes that you can rent, miles of trails to walk on, disc golf, picnic areas, gardens, restaurants, and more! If you take the stairs down from the waterfall, you can follow a walking trail along Minnehaha falls all the way to where it meets up with the Mississippi River!
5. Bike the Midtown Greenway
Minneapolis is a very bike friendly city. There are miles of trails dedicated to biking or walking throughout the city and the surrounding metro area. If you didn’t bring a bike, thats OK- there are stations all over they city were you can rent a Nice Ride bike for a few hours and explore they city by petal. The Greenway itself is a little over 5 miles long, but it connects to many other trail systems so you can take a nice long bike ride if you wanted to.
6. Visit Lake Bde Maka Ska
This is a very popular spot where people like to spend the day. It is not far from uptown and there are biking and walking trails that go around the entire lake. In addition to trails, there is fishing, kayak rentals, a beach area and a lot of space to put up a hammock or have a picnic. If you don’t mind walking a few blocks to get to the lake, there is free street parking available, otherwise there are pay lots available much closer to the beaches.
7. Smell the Roses at Lake Harriet
Right by another one of the lakes in Minneapolis is the Lyndale Park Rose Garden. The best time to visit is when the roses are in bloom and the fountains are on, but there are usually different kinds of flowers blooming throughout the late spring to early fall.
8. See the Midtown Global Market
The global market is collection of small local shops where you can find anything from food and coffee to art and souvenirs. There are some very nice murals and art inside the global market and the building is right off of the Greenway, so if you decide to bike the trail, it will bring you right here!
9. Stop by the Minneapolis Institute of Art
If you stop here, you will get a chance to see art from all eras from all over the world. There are 3 levels to this museum, so be sure to spend some time here! General admission is free and they have special exhibitions that cost a small fee to see.
10. Stroll along Nicollet Ave and check out the Skyways
Nicollet Avenue has all sorts of shops to visit and restaurants to try. If you are visiting in the winter and it is too cold to be outside, you can go explore downtown Minneapolis via the skyway system! If you can figure out how to read the map, please let me know because I am still puzzled by it. There are even free busses that go along Nicollet Ave so you don’t have to walk the whole way.
If you decide to visit Minneapolis and try out some of the things on this list, be sure to let us know what you think!